Last summer I noted work on the Jack County Courthouse in Jacksboro, a 1940 Art Moderne designed by Voelker and Dixon. As I was returning to Mississippi last month, I stopped in to see how the renovation was progressing. The exterior is complete. It was early, and quiet on the square. I’d had an invitation from the county judge to tour the inside on my next trip, but I didn’t really have a couple of hours to wait for the courthouse to open. Maybe next time…
The beautiful black marble panels had been restored, some of which had to be painstakingly refitted like a puzzle. The photograph below shows the “before” picture: At some point, someone had gotten the bright idea to “waterproof” the marble by painting it with gray latex paint. Not only did it fail to prevent water damage internally–which had to be repaired–it was downright ugly. But, you be the judge….
Fortunately for this building, and the eyes of Jacksboro residents, better heads prevailed on this renovation and the building is back in pristine shape.
I was also impressed with the landscaping of this public space, which has been an empty lot following demolition of a building. It has been converted into a beautiful and functional public multi use space.
The landscaping and partial fencing leads to the ability to visualize the space on the other side, and are said to encourage the idea that this is a “watched” or “protected” space, while encouraging its use. By demarcating it to indicate it does belong to someone, this type of landscaping reduces vandalism, while still encouraging the use of public space. Since being introduced in high rise public housing during the tenure of Henry Cisneros as Secretary of HUD, a number of studies of this type of use have been produced, indicating favorable outcomes.